This week’s state budget should make tourism a key priority for Western Australia, especially as the mining investment boom continues to wane, according to peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the WA budget, to be handed down on Thursday, is an opportunity for the Barnett government to demonstrate its commitment to the tourism industry.
“The WA government must recognise the vital role tourism plays in the state economy by providing additional funding for destination marketing and events in the upcoming budget,” said Mr Morrison.
“The Barnett government should renew and increase funding for Tourism WA, so it can continue marketing the state’s iconic destinations to domestic and international visitors.
“There should also be continued investment in developing and delivering a world-class events calendar for WA that gives people a reason to travel to the state and spend money in the local economy, helping to support businesses and create job opportunities.
“Tourism has been identified as one of Australia’s five super-growth sectors that have the potential to drive sustainable economic development and collectively add $250 billion to the economy over the next 20 years.
“Tourism generates economic activity throughout Western Australia, delivering $7.7 billion in annual expenditure in 2013 and supporting 91,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“Investment in new tourism infrastructure and hotels will help the value of visitor expenditure in Western Australia grow to $12 billion by 2020 and add thousands of jobs statewide.
“Western Australia welcomed 6.5 million domestic visitors in 2013, up 5 per cent on 2012, with spending rising by 4 per cent to $5.2 billion, led by a 28 per cent jump in spending by interstate visitors.
“This budget is an opportunity for the Barnett government to demonstrate its commitment to growing the visitor economy and creating jobs for WA.”